Get to know the MLS Rookie of the Year

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Andre Shinyashiki was today named 2019 MLS Rookie of the Year. Richard Fleming has witnessed his emergence this season with the Colorado Rapids, and offers a little insight into the former University of Denver stand-out.

When the Colorado Rapids selected Andre Shinyashiki fifth overall in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft, they gave up their original 15th pick and $100,000.

When they waived Designated Player Shkelzen Gashi at the start of March, it was in order to free up an international spot, with Brazil-born Shinyashiki very much part of that thought process.

The Rapids made moves which indicated they were confident in the then 21-year-old’s ability, and so it proved, as he went on to score seven goals, grab three assists, and was ultimately named the MLS Rookie of the Year.

Shinyashiki arrived in MLS with his reputation before him. He scored 51 goals in 83 appearances for the University of Denver, including a nation-high 28 in his senior year.

He began the season brightly, netting a stoppage-time equalizer in the first game of the campaign, a 3-3 tie at home to Portland Timbers in snow and freezing temperatures.

It was his late goal which settled the contest at LA Galaxy on May 19, and gifted the Rapids their first win of the season. The team had been winless in the opening 11 outings.

He managed a goal and an assist in the franchise record-setting 6-3 home win over Montreal Impact on August 8.

Shinyashiki then bagged a brace in a 2-0 home win over Seattle Sounders on September 7, and was then named MLS Player of the Week. He was the first Rapids player to achieve this honor since Deshorn Brown in mid-2014.

Quick with his feet, the former Pioneer displayed a maturity and versatility which belied his rookie status. He played as an out-and-out striker, as well as the wide man. He also played centrally.

In all, he started 18 of his 31 appearances. Two of his seven goals were game winners, and he becomes the second player in Rapids history to be named Rookie of the Year, following in the footsteps of Dillon Powers in 2013.

Other notable names to receive this award include Ben Olsen, Jay Heaps, Carlos Bocanegra, Maurice Edu, Omar Gonzalez, Michael Parkhurst, and Jordan Morris.

Shinyashiki won with almost a third of the votes (32.58%), seeing off Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union), Hassani Dotson (Minnesota United), Frankie Amaya (FC Cincinnati), and Chase Gasper (Minnesota United).